Golden Child (Penguin Randomhouse)
Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.
When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters–leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.
‘In fluid and uncluttered prose, Golden Child weaves an enveloping portrait of an insular social order in which the claustrophobic support of family and neighbors coexists with an omnipresent threat from the same corners.’ – The New York Times Book Review
Judges: Alan Hollinghurst, Robbie Millen, Meryl Halls
Shortlist: Golden Child by Claire Adam (Faber & Faber), Hold by Michael Donkor (4th Estate), Devoured by Anna Mackmin (Propolis Books)
Longlist: Golden Child by Claire Adam (Faber & Faber), A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther (Salt), Hold by Michael Donkor (4th Estate), The Chameleon by Samuel Fisher (Salt), Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (Jonathan Cape), Devoured by Anna Mackmin (Propolis Books), Future Popes of Ireland by Darragh Martin (4th Estate), Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford (New Island Books), Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler (Fleet), Testament by Kim Sherwood (riverrun)
We That Are Young (Galley Beggar Press)
When Jivan Singh returns to his childhood home after a long absence, it’s only to witness the unexpected resignation of Devraj, the founding father of the Company, a vast corporation at the heart of Indian life. On the same day, Devraj’s youngest daughter Sita absconds – refusing to submit to marriage. Her older sisters Radha and Gargi are handed their father’s company…
So begins a vicious struggle for power, ranging from the luxury hotels of New Delhi and Amritsar, the palaces and slums of Napurthala, to the beautiful, broken city of Srinagar, Kashmir.
We That Are Young is a modern-day King Lear that bursts with energy and fierce, beautifully measured rage. It presents a startling insight into modern India, the rise of religious nationalism, the clash of youth and age, the intensity of life (and the ever-present spectre of death) in one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It is the tragedy of our times – for all time.
‘Revelatory… Urgent and irresistible… One of the most exquisite and original novels of the year.’ – The Sunday Times
Judges: Sarah Perry, Samira Ahmed, Chris White
Shortlist: How to Be Human by Paula Cocozza (Hutchinson), Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Collins), We That Are Young by Preti Taneja (Galley Beggar Press)
Longlist: The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks (Salt), How to be Human by Paula Cocozza (Hutchinson), The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker), Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Collins), Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak (Piatkus), Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett (4th Estate), How Saints Die by Carmen Marcus (Harvill Secker), One Star Awake by Andrew Meehan (New Island), Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber), We That Are Young by Preti Taneja (Galley Beggar Press)
Golden Hill (Faber)
New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island, 1746. One rainy evening, a charming and handsome young stranger fresh off the boat from England pitches up to a counting house on Golden Hill Street, with a suspicious yet compelling proposition — he has an order for a thousand pounds in his pocket that he wishes to cash. But can he be trusted? This is New York in its infancy, a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love, and find a world of trouble . . .
‘Golden Hill is a novel of gloriously capacious humanity, thick-woven with life in all its oddness and familiarity, a novel of such joy it leaves you beaming, and such seriousness that it asks to be read again and again … this novel is verifiable gold.’ – Alexandra Harris, Sunday Telegraph
Judges: Sam Leith, Kamila Shamsie, Iain Rushworth
Shortlist: My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal (Leon), Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Sceptre),
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (Faber and Faber)
Longlist: Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Sceptre), My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal (Leon), Little Deaths by Emma Flint (Picador), Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary (Harvill Secker), The Transition by Luke Kennard (4th Estate), Ithaca by Alan McMonagle (Picador), The Sacred Combe by Thomas Maloney (Scribe UK), They Are Trying to Break Your Heart by David Savill (Bloomsbury), Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (Faber and Faber), Forbidden Line by Paul Stanbridge (Galley Beggar Press)
The Glorious Heresies (John Murray)
One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight . . .
‘The Glorious Heresies heralds the arrival of a glorious, foul-mouthed, fizzing new talent’ – Sunday Times
Judges: Iain Pears, Sam Baker, Katy Guest
Shortlist: The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (John Murray), The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester (Penguin), Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea (Scribe)
Longlist: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon (Borough Press), The Honours by Tim Clare (Canongate), The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis (Two Roads), Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh (Canongate), Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea (Scribe), The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (John Murray), The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester (Viking), The Weightless World by Anthony Trevelyan (Galley Beggar Press), Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume (Windmill), Disclaimer by Renée Knight (Doubleday)
Our Endless Numbered Days (Penguin)
1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother’s grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.
Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.
Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.
‘Fuller handles the tension masterfully in this grown-up thriller of a fairytale, full of clues, questions and intrigue.’ – The Times
Judges: Louise Doughty, Viv Groskop, Jonathan Ruppin
Shortlist: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (Viking), A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray (Hutchinson), Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (Fig Tree)
Longlist: The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah (Doubleday), The Bees by Laline Paull (Fourth Estate), Chop Chop by Simon Wroe (Viking), Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (Viking), Glass by Alex Christofi (Serpent’s Tail), The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Picador), Our Endless, Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (Fig Tree), Randall by Jonathan Gibbs (Galley Beggar Press), A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray (Hutchinson), The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound)
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Faber)
Eimear McBride’s award-winning debut novel tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. It is a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist. To read A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator’s head, experiencing her world at first hand. This isn’t always comfortable – but it is always a revelation.
‘Eimear McBride is that old fashioned thing, a genius, in that she writes truth-spilling, uncompromising and brilliant prose.’ – Anne Enright, Guardian
Judges: Chris Cleave, Isabel Berwick, Patrick Neale
Shortlist: The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison (Granta), A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing (Galley Beggar Press),
Ballistics by D.W. Wilson (Bloomsbury)
Longlist: The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison (Granta), Idiopathy by Sam Byers (Fourth Estate), Meeting the English by Kate Clanchy (Picador), The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (HarperCollins), Sedition by Katharine Grant (Virago), The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt (Simon & Schuster), A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Galley Beggar Press), The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland), Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera (William Heinemann), Ballistics by D. W. Wilson (Bloomsbury)
The Marlowe Papers (Sceptre)
On May 30th, 1593, a celebrated young playwright was killed in a tavern brawl in London. That, at least, was the official version. Now let Christopher Marlowe tell you the truth: that his ‘death’ was an elaborate ruse to avoid his being hanged for heresy; that he was spirited across the channel to live on in lonely exile, longing for his true love and pining for the damp streets of London; that he continued to write plays and poetry, hiding behind the name of a colourless man from Stratford — one William Shakespeare.
With the grip of a thriller and the emotional force of a sonnet, this extraordinary novel in verse gives voice to a man who was brilliant, passionate, mercurial and not altogether trustworthy. The son of a cobbler who rose so far in Elizabethan society that he counted nobles among his friends and patrons, a spy in the Queen’s service, a fickle lover and a declared religious sceptic, he was always courting trouble. When it caught up with him, he was lucky to have connections powerful enough to help him escape.
Memoir, love letter, settling of accounts and a cry for recognition as the creator of some of the most sublime works in the English language, this is Christopher Marlowe’s testament — and a tour de force by an award-winning poet: provocative, persuasive and enthralling.
‘Ros Barber has told a great story, in a fascinating way, so fascinating that she had someone like me gripped to the very end. This really is a joy to read and a true work of art.’ – Benjamin Zephaniah
Judges: Joanne Harris, Robert Collins, Miriam Robinson
Shortlist: The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber (Sceptre), The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence (Hodder & Stoughton), The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan (William Heinemann)
Longlist: Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman (Serpent’s Tail), The Fields by Kevin Maher (Little, Brown), Signs of Life by Anna Raverat (Picador), Seldom Seen by Sarah Ridgard (Hutchinson), Jammy Dodger by Kevin Smith (Sandstone Press), The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace (Simon & Schuster), The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber (Sceptre), The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence (Hodder & Stoughton), The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan (William Heinemann), The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland (Harper Fiction)
The Land of Decoration (Chatto and Windus)
In Grace McCleen’s harrowing, powerful debut, she introduces an unforgettable heroine in ten-year-old Judith McPherson, a young believer who sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith. Persecuted at school for her beliefs and struggling with her distant, devout father at home, young Judith finds solace and connection in a model in miniature of the Promised Land that she has constructed in her room from collected discarded scrapsâ€”the Land of Decoration. Where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility and divinity in even the strangest traces left behind. As ominous forces disrupt the peace in her and Father’s modest livesâ€”a strike threatens her father’s factory job, and the taunting at school slips into dangerous territoryâ€”Judith makes a miracle in the Land of Decoration that solidifies her blossoming convictions. She is God’s chosen instrument. But the heady consequences of her newfound power are difficult to control and may threaten the very foundations of her world.
‘A tremendously affecting novel, skilfully and arrestingly written, and one that packs a big emotional punch’ – The Sunday Times
Judges: Sam Llewellyn, Tom Gatti, Caroline Mileham
Shortlist: The Land Of Decoration by Grace McCleen (Chatto & Windus), The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness (Seren), The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday)
Longlist: Absolution by Patrick Flanery (Atlantic Books), Bed by David Whitehouse (Canongate Books), Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (Doubleday), The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood (Simon & Schuster), Care Of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles (Harper Press), The Land Of, Decoration by Grace McCleen (Chatto & Windus), The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness (Seren), The Missing Shade of Blue by Jennie Erdal (Little, Brown), The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo (Faber and Faber), The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday)
Saraswati Park (Fourth Estate)
Famous for its electric chaos, the city of Bombay also accommodates pockets of calm. In one such space works Mohan, a contemplative man who has spent his life observing people from his seat as a letter-writer outside the main post office. But Mohan’s lack of engagement with the world has caused a thawing of his marriage. At this delicate moment Mohan – and his wife, Lakshmi – are joined at their home in Saraswati Park by their nephew, Ashish, a sexually uncertain 19-year-old who has to repeat his final year in college.
As the novel unfolds, the lives of each of the three characters are thrown into relief by the comical frustrations of family life: annoying relatives, unspoken yearnings and unheard grievances. When Lakshmi loses her only brother, she leaves Bombay for a relative’s home to mourn not only the death of a sibling but also the vital force of her marriage. Ashish, meanwhile, embarks on an affair with a much richer boy in his college and, not long afterwards, succumbs to the overtures of his English tutor.
As Mohan scribbles away in the margins of the sort of books he secretly hopes to write one day, he worries about whether his wife will return, what will become of Ashish, and if he himself will ever find his own voice to write from the margins about the centre of which he will never be a part.
‘Joseph contrasts the inner and outer lives of her characters, and the uneasy friction between new and old cultures, with all the wit and delicacy of a latter-day Mrs Gaskell’ – The Times
Judges: Edward Stourton, Fanny Blake, Amy Worth
Shortlist: Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman (Sceptre), Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman (Bloomsbury), Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph (Fourth Estate)
Longlist: The Afterparty by Leo Benidictus (Jonathan Cape), Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman (Sceptre), Coconut Unlimited by Nikesh Shukla (Quartet), The Collaborator by Mirza Waheed (Viking), Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman (Bloomsbury), Pub Walks in Underhill Country by Nat Segnit (Fig Tree), Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph (Fourth Estate), The Spider Truces by Tom Connolly (Myriad Editions), A Vision of Loveliness by Louise Levene (Bloomsbury), Who is Mr Satoshi? by Jonathan Lee (William Heinemann)
The Girl with Glass Feet (Atlantic Books)
A mysterious metamorphosis has taken hold of Ida MacLaird – she is slowly turning into glass. Fragile and determined to find a cure, she returns to the strange, enchanted island where she believes the transformation began, in search of reclusive Henry Fuwa, the one man who might just be able to help…
Instead she meets Midas Crook, and another transformation begins: as Midas helps Ida come to terms with her condition, they fall in love. What they need most is time – and time is slipping away fast.
‘Shaw has worked the great tradition of European fairy tales and come up with an ingenious story… A magical fable of fate and resignation.’ – Guardian
Judges: Elizabeth Buchan, William Skidelsky, James Daunt
Shortlist: Before the Earthquake by Maria Allen (Tindal Street Press), Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley (Picador), The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Atlantic Books)
Longlist: Before the Earthquake by Maria Allen (Tindal Street Press), The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry (Blue Door), Rupture by Simon Lelic (Picador), The Shadow of a Smile by Kachi A. Ozumba (Alma Books), Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley (Picador), The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), Designs for a Happy Home by Matthew Reynolds (Bloomsbury), Beauty by Raphael Selbourne (Tindal Street Press), The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Atlantic Books), The Upright Piano Player by David Abbott (MacLehose Press, Quercus)
Blackmoor (Simon & Schuster)
Beth is an albino, half blind, and given to looking at the world out of the corner of her eye. Her neighbours in the Derbyshire town of Blackmoor have always thought she was ‘touched’, and when a series of bizarre happenings shake the very foundations of the village, they are confirmed in their opinion that Beth is an ill omen. The neighbours say that Beth eats dirt from the flowerbeds, and that smoke rises from her lawn. By the end of the year, she is dead.
‘This novel … has confidence, mystery and an entrancing sense of itself.’ – Independent on Sunday
Judges: Candida Lycett Green, Suzi Feay, Rodney Troubridge
Shortlist: Blackmoor by Edward Hogan (Simon & Schuster), A Girl Made of Dust by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi (Fourth Estate), The Rescue Man by Anthony Quinn (Jonathan Cape)
Longlist: A Girl Made of Dust by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi (Fourth Estate), The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams (Virago), Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold (Tindal Street Press), Mr Toppit by Charles Elton (Viking), Never Never by David Gaffney (Tindal Street Press), Blackmoor by Edward Hogan (Simon & Schuster), The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona MacLean (Quercus), The Rescue Man by Anthony Quinn (Jonathan Cape), Little Gods by Anna Richards (Picador), The Alternative Hero by Tim Thornton (Jonathan Cape)
Rumi Vasi is 10 years, 2 months, 13 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes, and 6 seconds old. She’s figured that the likelihood of her walking home from school with the boy she likes, John Kemble, is 0.2142, a probability severely reduced by the lacy dress and thick woolen tights her father, and Indian émigré, forces her to wear. Rumi is a gifted child, and her father, Mahesh, believes that strict discipline is the key to nurturing her genius if the family has any hope of making its mark on its adoptive country.
Four years later, a teenage Rumi is at the center of an intense campaign by her parents to make her the youngest student ever to attend Oxford University, an effort that requires an unrelenting routine of study. Yet Rumi is growing up like any other normal teen: her mind often drifts to potent distractions . . . from music to love.
Rumi’s parents want nothing other than to give Rumi an exceptional life. As her father outlines ever more regimented study schedules, her mother longs for India and forcefully reminds Rumi of her roots. In the end, the intense expectations of a family with everything to prove will be a combustible ingredient as an intelligent but naive girl is thrust into the adult world before she has time to grow up.
Judges: Penny Vincenzi, Geordie Greig, Cristina Odone
Shortlist: Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking), Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Simon & Schuster), Sunday at The Cross Bones by John Walsh (Fourth Estate)
Longlist: Broken by Daniel Clay (Harper Press), Submarine by Joe Dunthorne (Hamish Hamilton), The Truth About These Strange Times by Adam, Foulds (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), The Outcast by Sadie Jones (Chatto & Windus), Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking), Kill Your Friends by John Niven (William Heinemann), Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips(Vintage), Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann (Doubleday), Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Simon & Schuster), Sunday at The Cross Bones by John Walsh (Fourth Estate), The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi (Bloomsbury)